Study Finds Tetris Greatly Helps With Difficult-To-Treat Vision Problem

When I was growing up, one of the common worries about young people playing video games was that it'd strain our eyesight. Well what do you know, it's sounding more and more like video games are more likely to help fix eyesight!

CBC News reports a new study at McGill University has discovered that Tetris has greatly helped improve vision for adults with a lazy eye, also known as Amblyopia. Lazy eye has proven exceptionally difficult to treat, particularly in adults.

But Robert Hess, a researcher at McGill University, has found that playing video games with both eyes greatly improved vision for his adult test subjects.

From CBC News:

The new treatment involves setting up the video game of Tetris so it can only be played effectively using both eyes. The game involves rotating puzzle pieces as they fall so that they interlock with other puzzle pieces sitting at the bottom of the screen. The researchers split the image between the eyepieces of a pair of head-mounted video goggles so that one eye could only see the falling pieces and the other eye could only see the pieces sitting at the bottom of the screen. They also adjusted the contrast in each eye so that at first, there was very little contrast in the image seen by the stronger eye.

After playing Tetris that way for an hour a day for two weeks, nine adults with lazy eye showed a big improvement in the vision of the weaker eye and in their 3D depth perception, the researchers reported in a paper published this week in the journal Current Biology.

Hess pointed out that it didn't have to be Tetris specifically, but that any visually intensive game should work. Guess it's time to break out some Antichamber... for health!

This isn't the first study to find that video games can be used to treat vision problems. Past unrelated studies have found that shooters improve vision and that gaming may help fight cataracts, while other doctors hope games will help test children's eyesight.

(Thanks, Denis!)